Guest contributor Denise O’Neill shares her story on how to go gray…

Going gray is not for everyone…

I decided to ditch the dye at the age of 45 for a number of reasons. My decision was based on the fact that as I was getting older, I felt I did not look natural with brown hair. And, this might sound funny, but my eyebrows didn’t match my dyed hair color!

As we age, our complexions get lighter, and I found that continuing to dye my hair brown made me look older—it emphasized the aging lines in my skin. I noticed too that, as is normal for women of the peri-/menopausal phase of life, my hair was getting a little thinner, especially at the front – so my scalp was more visible through the dyed hair. So how to go gray gracefully? I was frustrated by the fact that I was having to color it every two weeks to get rid of the new grey regrowth coming through… and I resented putting chemicals onto my scalp which might not be a healthy thing to do.

I thought to myself, Stop fighting it, let the color grow out and see what I really look like. So I gave it a go.

My going gray journey

I went ‘cold turkey, ’ and it took me about a year, with a lot of patience, to grow out the dyed colored hair. Firstly, I decided to get my hair cut short – it had been in a bob style. During the growing out phase, my hair was such a mess, a mixture of the old dyed color, my new natural dark brown, and the gray coming through. I felt that I looked like I was letting myself go—that I didn’t care about how I looked. Of course, this is not true—I really cared! And, being honest, it was so difficult. I purchased a great book at this time, and it really helped me to keep going: ‘Going Gray’ by Anne Kreamer. In her book, Anne Kreamer describes her journey to grey. I owe so much to Anne – she gave me great hope and confidence to carry on. Thank you, Anne! I stuck with growing out the color… and every time I had a new cut, I could see the grey/white strands of hair shining through more and more (especially around my face like a light). It was like a metamorphosis. I felt so free—free of the shackles of color—free to be the real me. I can’t wait for my hair to go even grayer/whiter and hope to enjoy the continuing journey. For me, it’s not just the outer look; it’s how I feel inside too.

How to Go Gray GracefullyDenise O’Neill lives in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. She is married with a daughter and a son and works as a part-time administrative assistant.

Flip the script after 50

You'll be on cloud nine!

Flip the script after 50

You'll be on cloud nine!

Flip the script after 50

You'll be on cloud nine!